MJ Live

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Return of the Trainees (Written Nov 12 2005)

We are now back in the wonderful megacity known as Apia and this return isn't as desperately needed as the first one. While we have finally come back to Apia, our stay here is extremely short – tomorrow we leave for our volunteer visit. The volunteer visit is where all the trainees are sent out across Samoa to spend time with volunteers in their particular home sites to see how a typical day for a volunteer goes. The sad part is that none of us are staying with Apia volunteers – we're all essentially going to VBD (Village Based Development) sites to spend time with those volunteers. So our escape from the village life is only temporary. Unlike the OJT, we are not going with volunteers who are doing the same job we will be working at so for this activity I get to go to Savaii – specifically the village of Saipipi. It's on the east side of Savaii close to the ocean – so a village stay with an ocean view, that will be a different experience. I'm one of the few trainees being placed with a volunteer who is doing my job on Savaii – that of being a computer studies teacher. I know it contradicts what I said earlier but I am the exception to the rule. I'm staying with a volunteer named Amos Cruz who teaches at Amoa College on Savaii. I'm both excited and nervous at the same time because this will be my first major boat ride in years. So that begs the question of what is involved in making a trip to Savaii? Well first you get on a bus in Apia that is headed for the wharf on Upolu. The wharf buses are the only buses in Samao that run on a strictly fixed schedule because the boats leave at very specific times. Unfortunately, few buses run on Sunday in Samoa so all the Savaii trainees are being driven to the whart. The boat we're trying to make is the 12pm bus, so we'll leave the hotel at 10am (the drive is about an hour) and make it to the wharf by 11am. Once there, we buy a ticket for the boat 30mins before the boat is suppose to leave (it costs 9 tala for the boat ride one way). The boat ride itself is 1.5 hours long and if the weather is rough, so is the ride. So we'll find out tomorrow if I get motion sickness or not – wish me luck! We'll arrive at the wharf of Saleloioga on Savaii at about 1:30pm and the Savaii volunteers we're staying with are supposed to meet us there. So within my first two months of being here I get to experience both island – supposedly Savaii is the more beautiful island. I'll tell you if that's true or not. While we're not suppose to play too hard but spend some time seeing the volunteers "normal" life I'm sure I'll have some stories to tell once I'm done (everyday is a story in Samoa). So hello Apia – goodbye Apia in less than 24 hours. We return to Apia again on Wednesday and then leave for our 3 week stay on Saturday.

Switching gears real quick, I was talking to another trainee about sustaining relationships back home and that reminded me of one way of connecting with those back home without a phone call. When it is night time all across the states, the moon is usually rising in Samoa. So if you're in the states and see the moon know that that's the same moon we can see in Samoa. Since the moon is so bright here and the sky is littered with stars we're always looking at the night sky. Take comfort in the fact that no matter what country you are in some things never change. When I yearn for home, I just look at the sky and know that same moon is shining over those I love and that helps a lot. Just a piece of advice from a Samoan to be – take it (but don't leave it). L8r!

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